I’ve been keeping an eye out for The Hangover since March. I love Ed Helms. I love Zack Galifianakis (so much so that I didn’t even have to check how to spell his name). I love Bradley Cooper. I love Mike Tyson. (What?) Win-win-win-awkward win, right? I don’t want to spoil the post by giving my coveted rating so soon, but I only give this movie a 70 out of 100. Why did you make me do that, The Hangover? I really wanted to love you. (I’d usually point out the spoilerlessness of my review, but you’ve basically seen the entire movie in trailers by now, I assume, making it sort of impossible for me to spoil anything.)
I did my best not to read any reviews/blogger commentary or ask any friends about their thoughts on the movie (I have none thankfully so that saved me effort), so this is just me sounding off. By all means, see this if you’d like because my opinion may be missing the mark.
The premise, as we know, is pretty cliche: A buddy comedy about heading to Vegas before one guy loses his freedom FOREVER (marriage is forever in movies). Doug, played by Justin Bartha (whom I awkwardly recognized from that failed sitcom Teachers), plays the “normal guy” to his buddies extreme foils. Bradley Cooper plays Phil, an irresponsible (and very, very attractive) teacher who seems to represent the male Ego (fornicating, destroying, creating mischief). Ed Helms plays Stu, an uptight dentist in a relationship with a controlling bitch (you know I’ll be back to this). Zach G. plays Alan, Doug’s quirky soon-to-be brother-in-law who just wants to be included. They take Jagermeister shots on the roof of their hotel and then wake up in the morning to a destroyed suite, trying to retrace their steps and figure out what happened to Doug.
It’s hard to lampoon the jokes in this (which were more miss than hit for me) because the acting was hilarious. Shots of Alan simply walking in the background trying to exit Mike Tyson’s house made me laugh. But that’s the kind of humor I enjoy. I’d rather laugh at Galifianakis’s facial expressions than an old guy’s exposed ass. That’s just me. I think that’s what made me mad. When the jokes missed, I’d sit there stone-faced, seething with anger because they could’ve been really well done. They could’ve avoided the frat-boy humor and went straight for dark, subtle comedy. All three actors utilized physical comedy to the best of their abilities, but you can only do so much when the actual jokes are pretty flat. And for the record, the not funniness of this movie has nothing to do with being uptight. I think jokes about male friends’ homophobia (yet love for each other) can be interesting to explore. And it’s not like we do that in EVERY SINGLE buddy comedy, right? Totally not getting old.
I think that’s the problem. I don’t want to sit in a movie theater with 17-year-old boys while they laugh at the new Bruno trailer (oh man, he’s so gay, you guys). I’m glad that when they were guffawing over Bradley Cooper saying “faggot” or a gay Asian stereotype that I was waiting patiently for something funny. Not because I am uptight but because these things are played out. And I got some of those moments—I had a few real belly laughs. But the line of jokes in general was lazy, which is surprising because there was so much going on in the plot. Unlike with some of my favorite comedies, I can’t really remember any memorable quotations or scenes despite the fact that I saw it last night.
So, obviously, Doug’s fiance is in the movie for about three minutes total. Fine, it’s a bachelor party movie. Duh. But two women do get a considerable amount of screen time: Jade, the hooker with a heart of gold, and Melissa, Stu’s heinous bitch of a girlfriend who reminds him before he leaves that a stripper is somebody’s daughter. Jade is played by beautiful and blonde Heather Graham, who has apparently not aged since License to Drive in 1988. Melissa is played by the hilarious Rachael Harris, who is usually blonde but shockingly turned brunette for the movie. Subtle! Whatever, I’m not going to start a whole diatribe about how horribly written women are in comedies (especially now that I told a friend that I can’t do that again until I take a screenwriting class and just write movies myself) even though it’s true. Let’s just say: No one is that controlling/evil—outrightly anyway. The movie tried to make hating her justified because apparently she has cheated on Stu’s character, but let’s just call the woman-hating what it is. As far as stock female characters go, which is worse? Idiot Jade who we’re supposed to root for because she likes Stu for who he is (and because she is not controlling/likes to party/is hot) but also makes sure to mention she’s excited he’s a dentist and she won’t have to strip anymore? Or Melissa, who spends the movie with a vein bulging out of her forehead because of all that naggy rage?
On the plus side, you get to see a baby get hit in the head by a car door. And you also get an old man butt, two penises, and Galifianakis’s backside. I guess that is one plus; while recent comedies have concentrated on the female body as grotesque (and therefore humorous), The Hangover switched gears by mocking the male form. But, now that I think about it, I guess they had no choice since women weren’t actually in the movie much. (Don’t worry—they still got in a breast-feeding scene and plenty of naked strippers in the credits.) OK, it’s all out of my system. Definitely rent it, or see it in the theater and tell me what you think. Helms’s and Galifianakis’s performances are probably worth it, plus Bradley Cooper minus a shirt. I just counteracted my entire “review”—see The Hangover because Bradley Cooper is shirtless. And don’t worry—every single high school boy leaving the theater thought it was the best movie ever.
Let’s end on a high note, shall we?